Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Paynter close to Leeds exit

Sky 31/7/12
Striker to spend week on trial at Blackpool
Leeds United striker Billy Paynter has been given the chance to earn a contract at Blackpool after linking up with the Seasiders on a week-long trial.
The 28-year-old joined Leeds in a blaze of publicity after making a name for himself as one of the hottest strikers outside of the Premier League two years ago.
His 29 goals for Swindon, including two braces against the Yorkshire club, fired them into the League One play-off final in May 2010 which they eventually lost to Millwall. But his time at Elland Road has been dogged with injuries and he spent three months on-loan at Brighton & Hove Albion before being placed on the transfer list by Leeds boss Neil Warnock at the end of last season.
The Liverpool-born striker has scored just three goals in 27 league appearances since his move from Swindon and has made no secret of his desire to end his frustrating time at the club.
And with Doncaster and Notts County also interested in obtaining his signature, Paynter would appear to be edging towards the exit at Elland Road.

Luke keen to take his chance

leedsunited.com 31/7/12
New signing Luke Varney admits he wasn't going to miss out on the double opportunity of playing with Leeds United and linking up with Neil Warnock once the call came this summer.
The 29-year-old completed his move from Portsmouth last week as the manager snared one of his long-time targets.
"I'd pushed for this as hard as I could," said Luke, who has scored 68 goals in 288 career appearances. "I feel it's a very positive move for me and I hope it will work out for both parties.
"I'd had three or four phone calls before from the manager over the years, but other things had come up and it never quite happened. It was unfortunate, but this time there was no way I was going to miss out. A few other clubs showed an interest, but once it was Leeds I was always going to come here."
Luke made his debut at Bodmin Town last Wednesday and the United boss couldn't hide his delight after securing a player he has been chasing for some years. He started in a left midfield role at Bodmin and marked his first appearance with a headed goal after drifting inside to convert a cross to score the first goal in a 4-0 victory. "I've tended to play as a winger since my Blackpool days, but he's made it clear he wants to me positive and get a few goals," explained Luke.
"Starting inside and going out wide will help me a lot and will hopefully help me get a few more goals. I enjoyed playing in that role last week, and it was nice to get a run-out.
"Things weren't great at Portsmouth, it was a case of a few lads just trying to keep fit really so to get some time in was a bonus. The goal was pleasing."
Inevitably, Luke will be viewed by some as a replacement for the now departed Robert Snodgrass, but despite the manager declaring that his new signing will be deployed in a similar role, the former Portsmouth man isn't making any comparisons.
"I'd be happy if I could do as well he did," said Luke. "When I signed I was looking forward to playing with him, but he had a chance to play in the Premier League and good luck to him.
"I don't think any of us are here to replace anyone. We've all got out own jobs and we're looking forward to seeing what Neil can put together."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Whites want Cranie

Yorkshire Evening Post 30/7/12
Leeds United manager Neil Warnock is looking to strike a deal with Martin Cranie after the former Coventry City defender reached the end of his pre-season trial, writes PHIL HAY.
Warnock admitted he would be happy to add Cranie to the squad at Elland Road if Leeds and the centre-back can agree terms on a suitable contract.
Cranie is a free agent after leaving Coventry in May and he has featured in all of United’s four pre-season friendlies, including three in Devon and Cornwall last week. A 45-minute outing at Torquay United on Friday night brought Cranie’s fortnight-long trial to a conclusion and Warnock is open to the possibility of signing the 25-year-old.
Warnock said: “He’s a steady player and what I’d call a squad player.
“Where it goes from here really depends on what Martin’s looking for and what we can afford to offer him. He’s calm, collected and a good lad who’s fitted in well with the other players. We just need to chat things over and see what happens.”
United did not concede a single goal in any of their first four friendlies with Cranie on the pitch, and he and Jason Pearce were paired in the centre of defence throughout the first week of Leeds’ pre-season schedule.
Warnock has an alternative centre-back in youngster Tom Lees but he requires cover in that area with Andy O’Brien likely to move on from Elland Road after being transfer listed at the end of last season.
Warnock’s priority in the transfer market is securing a new striker and he is also seeking a specialist right-back, with Leicester City’s Lee Peltier high on his list of options.
But having signed no fewer than five players last week, he does not expect any new faces to appear in United’s next friendly against Sandefjord in Norway on Wednesday, saying: “I wouldn’t have thought any of my targets will come in before then.
“Although you never say never with us.”

Leeds United Q+A, Gary Cooper of Leeds United Supporters Trust

Clarekonenil 30/7/12
The editor sets some questions, via email, for Gary Cooper, Chair of the Leeds United Supporters Trust.
MG: Gary, it has been a long and frustrating summer as the takeover saga churns on and on. Have we stopped “daring to dream”?
GC: I never stop daring to dream Michael and I hope despite all we’ve been through this summer that our members and the supporters keep believing they can dare to dream too?

MG: LUST made some extensive plays on publicising the original approach to the club but since then significant part of your time have been spent “keeping confidences”. Notwithstanding who you are or not talking to privately wasn’t it a mistake for the prospective buyers to let Bates and company set the confidentiality terms?
GC: Quite possibly, certainly in terms of getting off on the right foot with the fans, I think had the prospective buyers been able to give some form of acknowledgement to the fans it would have gone a long way towards building the confidence levels, after all seven years of Mr Bates has knocked the confidence from our supporters.

MG: Fans are frustrated that names are out there in the open, on forums, blogs, radio-shows etc but no-one, not even “ITK” LUST is confirming the buyers, how does that assist in bringing transparency to a club now so associated with “undisclosed”?
GC: It’s a good question and in an ideal world I would dearly love to have been in a position to tell more during the closed season. As a Trust we have done our very best to say what we can when we can and we have persistently urged both the club, who I feel could certainly have done a lot more to address fans concerns but didn’t, and of course the prospective incomers who maybe haven’t measured the fever pitch temperatures of the supporters as well as they could. I don’t want to criticise people who are not here yet so I am more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt however the club should know better.

MG: One specific name has been bandied about a lot, Sheik Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa. The same name also keeps cropping up in newspaper stories of gambling debts and business fall-outs (especially in the horse racing game); does this cause you any concern?
GC: It’s one of several names a struggle to pronounce Michael so if it is him I need to practice more? I’ve read the stories like everyone else and of course it’s right to be concerned to some extent however what’s more important to me is ensuring whoever is coming in to Leeds United shares the ambition of the supporters and our members and in doing that we are going to have to gamble a little (obviously in as controlled a way as possible) to achieve success.

MG: Whilst from a Clarkeonenil perspective “anyone but Bates” applies it could be suggested that any connection with Middle Eastern regimes where the populace are in rebellion brings its own issues. Should human rights issues play a part in how LUST considers any new owners at Elland Road?
GC: Human rights issues should play a part in everyone’s life, indeed in tackling the comparatively minor problems of stewarding and policing the Trust has a duty to be concerned about the rights of our members and Leeds supporters, whether this will transpire into a more global concern is something I can’t say the Trust would necessarily concern itself with, after all our members set the agenda and we are driven by that so perhaps the question should be put to them?

MG: The term consortium has been bandied about, are you content we will get a full picture of the other parts of the consortium after takeover and do you think there will be any surprises?
GC: Yes I am sure that will be the case, there has been a lot of focus on the individuals who have been rumoured to be involved with little consideration given to the likelihood of this being a consortium and I love surprises so long as they are nice ones!

MG: How does the takeover help with LUST’s core long term aim of garnering supporter’s ownership and control of the club?
GC: In many ways it changes little, we have always worked with our partners such as Leeds City Council for the betterment of the club which after all is a massive community asset, we will continue to do so hopefully with new owners and a new working relationship?

MG: Once the takeover takes place a massive build-up of expectation is likely to rear its head. Do you have any sense of what investment would be available and what it gets used for?
GC: The return of the club’s assets would be nice, if costly. If you add that to what we feel the manager would genuinely like to spend to strengthen our current squad to push for promotion and then consolidate once that’s achieved you are talking a lot of money. Do I feel the prospective buyers have the potential for such investment, yes I do!

MG: Do you expect Elland Road and Thorp Arch to return to the club; surely LUST would want the club to be sustainable for the future?
GC: I part pre-empted your question in my last answer, I think it would be our members ambitions to see the ground and Thorp Arch brought back into ownership of the club, Elland Road is our home and we strongly believe this should be a fundamental ambition for any new owners, that is going to take considerable investment.

MG: LUST have made a lot of play on “supporting the manager”, here at Clarkeonenil we might suggest that is a waste of time with the present incumbent. Is it really a supporter’s trusts job to have opinions on or supporting an individual manager?
GC: It’s the job of Leeds United supporters to do the best they can in difficult circumstances and support the club, we are after all just Leeds fans. The Trust would like to see our support galvanised as we believe the divide and conquer method which appears to have been used during the last few years does nothing positive for the future of the club, if uniting behind Mr Warnock is a way forward I think the trust should do that yes. That said any manager is open to scrutiny and if our members felt questions should be asked we would be duty bound to ask them.

MG: After 7 years of Bates and 10 years before that with the various custodians of the club from Akers onwards (including the legendary Ridsdale) some serious work has to be done to reconnect club and support, what role will you at LUST play?
GC: We hope to play a pivotal role. To achieve the aims of a trust we have to establish a meaningful dialogue with the club, not one that’s serves one party better than the other, it has to be a two way deal and we absolutely want that to be the case as early as possible with the next owners. We celebrate the rights of all fans groups to exist and do what they do best whether that be transportation to games, organising social events or representing fans views then surely a Trust should do what it does best to and that is provide a voice for the fans with the club and all local partners in the very best interests of all concerned, that’s what we see ourselves doing.

MG: Clarkeonenil and specifically me has been critical in the past of what it saw as LUST’s inability to stand up for supporters, what guarantees can you give that your organisation will ensure the voice of the support is heard more in the future?
GC: We accepted the criticism and we tackled it through re-branding and restructuring the way we do things, this is a trust fit for purpose, fit to serve its growing 7000 plus membership and fit to work with whosoever we need to. Given how far we have come in just three years I think we earned the right to be thought of as credible, trustworthy and genuine in our convictions. And of course your support recently suggests we are making at least a few right moves no?

MG: Over the last year LUST finally started to get involved, some actions, like the demo’s (not strictly a LUST initiative) and the march worked well, others, like the party in the East Stand, didn’t. What lessons have LUST learnt?
GC: Where do I begin? Firstly that getting a mandate is crucial, consult with our members and the fan base and most importantly listen to what they say. Secondly get the right people doing the right jobs, don’t take on too much and weaken the control you have over what’s going on but concentrate on the important issues as raised by the members, right now we have a board and teams able to do that and I think its clear to see it works. Lastly don’t rise to the bait, face each challenge in a practical but honest manner and stick to the strength of your convictions. Mr Bates has made things difficult for us this last season, he has attacked us personally and as an organisation, we have learned to stand tall through this and quite honestly we don’t fear anyone, that makes us strong. As I said before this Trust is fit for purpose, we have been challenged and we have learned with every step. I hope we keep learning.

MG: LUST now claims 6000+ members, what are you doing to keep the vast majority of those who signed up on a free membership?
GC: 7000, over 800 shareholders amongst that lot too? If we continue to do what have done over this last season I don’t see any reason that would lead to a mass migration of members away from the trust and membership; that said we need to keep demonstrating our worth and there are lots of projects we would like to support and be involved in such as safer standing.

MG: Finally for today Gary, look forward to the Wolves game and give us some predictions: has Bates left the club? Are we in safe hands? Is “the dream” real?
GC: It’s 4-1 to the mighty whites Michael, I would have had Snodgrass to score at anytime in there to but its looking unlikely. I had my carpels tunnel operation years ago so my hands are fairly safe now, our president is Nigel Martyn and he never dropped much. Hopefully we will be top by Xmas, 15 points clear, talking to Messi about personal terms and be renewing season tickets at cut price bargain basement once in a lifetime opportunity deals with owners who wont mortgage the proceeds? Of course we can dream, it’s real, it’s happening and it’s coming to an Elland Road near you soon. Besides we are Leeds United, what else can we do?

MG: On that positive, till the next time, thank you Gary.

(this email “interview” took place between Leeds United accepting the Snodgrass bid from Norwich and the transfer being confirmed).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Warnock looking for a captain

Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he is giving everyone a chance before deciding who will be the new captain of the club.
Leeds are looking for a new captain this season after the sale of Robert Snodgrass in the week to Norwich City.
Warnock was being very coy when talking to Yorkshire Radio after the game at Torquay United on Friday night. "I will make a decision once I have seen them all. Tom Lees was gobsmacked when I gave it to him."
So far this summer, Warnock has used four different captains in Leeds four games. Michael Brown (Farsley), Tom Lees (Bodmin) and Paul Green (Torquay) have all started games as captain, with departing captain Snodgrass wearing the armband at Tavistock.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Neil’s bid to unify club needs a helping hand

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/7/12
By Phil Hay: Inside Elland Road
With one glaring exception, Leeds United’s pre-season tour of Devon and Cornwall has been a lesson in positive PR: inclusive, welcoming, sensibly mapped out.
It was Neil Warnock’s intention and a product of his philosophy. Nurture a club’s support and they will nurture you. He had bridges to build from the outset at Elland Road – bridges burned by other people – and he has done so religiously since the day of his arrival. Three months in the job last season was enough to show him what happens when Leeds and their crowd find themselves at odds.
The concerted effort on his part to repair that relationship has done him credit. You sense it is appreciated.
On Tuesday, somewhere in the region of 400 supporters travelled into the Cornish countryside to watch an open training session and mingle with United’s players. “I’ve never seen them train before,” said one fan. “I was more bothered about this than going to the friendlies.”
So far so good. Then along comes a bid for Leeds’ club captain, in the midst of a takeover which is dragging its heels, and the old grievances return.
It was impossible not to sympathise with Warnock as he stood in the changing rooms at Bodmin Town, deflated by Robert Snodgrass’ defection but anxious too that the £3m sale should not be allowed to set the tone for next season.
He will realise that these moments have historically inflicted great damage on the mood he is working to raise.
It is clear enough that when the time came, the decision to leave was Snodgrass’. The tipping point was the bid submitted by Norwich later last week but Warnock’s desperation to keep him led him to take Snodgrass south regardless and play him in Monday’s friendly against Tavistock.
It is also clear that the prospective new owners of Leeds, whoever they are, took it upon themselves to make one final play to make the Scot reconsider.
All that can be said is that Warnock did everything he could. The timeline since he became manager in February is one of relentless courtship – granting Snodgrass’ wish by giving him the armband, securing the offer of a more realistic contract for a player of his value, talking the winger up whenever the media gave him the chance. His sale will not be classed as Warnock’s fault. It is the legacy of a problem which precedes his appointment at Elland Road.
The question is why it took Warnock’s arrival for a deal so good to land at Snodgrass’ feet. Though the contract was never signed, it does not appear to have been a half-hearted proposal. A source close to Snodgrass told the YEP last week that it was “75 per cent right” but difficult to negotiate while the proposed takeover of the club remained incomplete.
The time to offer that level of contract was not March but last summer when the Canaries waded in with their first bid for Snodgrass.
It can hardly be argued that the Scotland international was any more impressive last season than he was in the 2010-11 term.
The reason he stood out more vividly last season was a shortage of players with comparable talent but his class has always been clear.
Leeds paid for a situation which was going nowhere until Warnock got involved. By then, it seems, it was too late.
So Snodgrass goes and Leeds move on as they did after Jonathan Howson, Max Gradel et al. The difference on this occasion is that they will move on immeasurably once the change of ownership at Elland Road occurs and provided the new owners are fit and proper in a footballing sense.
It is impossible to say never again with a player like Snodgrass – some scenarios run their own course, and the lesson of his exit on Thursday was that transfers tend to happen when footballers want them to – but the loss was symptomatic of a lack of foresight.
It is plainly a blow to Warnock and he did not pretend otherwise. Yet nine signings are in place and you get the impression that he is confident of pulling his squad together even if the takeover runs close to the start of the Championship season or beyond.
Warnock has money now from the departure of Snodgrass and time to invest it. As he said on Thursday: “It’s not like the season’s starting tomorrow. We’ve got three weeks still.”
That point not withstanding, there are some above him who could give him a hand. Snodgrass’ sale brought sharply into focus the lack of clarity about the takeover and what it will mean for the club and next season.
As time ticks on and the uncertainty continues, the pressure for answers gets more intense.
There are good reasons for silence, of course, but equally good reasons for the silence to end.
Until an announcement comes, it seems it will be left to Warnock to keep the wider Leeds United family happy.
He made a good fist of that battle in Devon and Cornwall and would no doubt be relieved to reach August 18 without any of the negativity which hung over Leeds at the start of last season.
His efforts so far do not deserve that.

Midfielder deal completed

leedsunited.com 27/7/12
Midfielder David Norris has completed his switch from Portsmouth after signing a three-year contract with the club.
The 31-year-old underwent his medical after agreeing a deal, and his move was finalised on Friday.
The player will meet up with his new team-mates on Monday before travelling to Norway for the pre-season game against Sandefjord next Wednesday.
Fellow midfielder Rodolph Austin has also signed a contract with the club, although he must fly to Jamaica to finalise some paperwork before joining up with the squad in pre-season.

leedsunited.com 27/7/12
South West tour ends on a high
McCormack double sees off Torquay...
TORQUAY 1 (McKenzie 75), UNITED 2 (McCormack 7, 11)
Torquay: Poke, Nicholson, Downes, Saah, Lathorpe, Mansell, Jarvis, Howe, Morris, Leadbitter, Bodin. Subs: Rice, Macklin, MacKenzie, Easton, Stevens, Craig, Cruise, Thompson, Yeoman.
Leeds: Ashdown, Lees, Cranie (Byram 46), Pearce, Drury, White (Rogers 79), Green, Brown (Thompson 79), Varney (Pugh 65), Gray, McCormack (Poleon 65).
Att: 3925
The sun was beating down on Plainmoor for the final game of United's tour of the south west and over 3,000 travelling fans created what was a lively atmosphere for a pre-season game.
It was proving a successful tour and things got even better inside the opening 11 minutes of the game at Torquay United after Ross McCormack scored with two superb strikes.
The first came after just seven minutes when he opened the scoring with a well struck effort from distance and the second came on 11 when he smashed home a free-kick to double his tally.
That really set the tone for a half of football which United dominated. McCormack went close with another effort after he turned and volleyed from distance while Andy Gray came close to yet another pre-season goal after Tom Lees teed him up with the chance.
United were stretching Torquay and Luke Varney went close on two occasions before he turned provider, whipping in a ball which Paul Green couldn't quite convert. The hosts did have one opportunity moments before half-time, but Jamie Ashdown proved equal by making his first save of the contest.
The second half was a much more keenly fought affair although United's lead was rarely tested until Kirtys McKenzie headed home on 75 minutes, despite claims of a foul from Jason Pearce who went to ground when the ball was whipped in.
United had more defending to do in the second period - Lloyd Macklin gave the hosts some added width - but for the biggest part there were no real concerns.

I’ve already signed Rob’s replacement

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/7/12
Phil Hay
Neil Warnock has revealed that Luke Varney will be used to fill the gap left by Robert Snodgrass as he urged Leeds United to move on quickly from the sale of the Scotland international.
Warnock admitted that Snodgrass’ move to Norwich City last night on a three-year deal had heightened the pressure on him to secure his “marquee signings” but Varney is set to operate as Snodgrass’ replacement next season after joining Leeds from Portsmouth in a £200,000 deal.
The 29-year-old forward made his first appearance for the club in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly at Bodmin Town. Varney started the game on the left wing but drifted into a free role behind Andy Gray and Ross McCormack, scoring the opening goal in a 4-0 win.
Warnock planned to use Snodgrass in a similar role next season but that strategy has been wrecked by Norwich’s successful bid to sign United’s club captain. Snodgrass passed a medical on Wednesday, 24 hours after City’s £3m offer was officially accepted, and he returned to Carrow Road yesterday to put the finishing touches to his transfer.
United are to receive a payment of £1.5m up front and Warnock is intensifying his search for further signings, with strikers high on his list of priorities. The departure of Snodgrass could see Leeds step up their interest in West Ham United forward Nicky Maynard.
But Warnock is optimistic that Varney’s arrival will compensate for the creative qualities of Snodgrass and the 13 goals scored by the Scottish winger last season. Varney’s tally during the 2011-12 Championship campaign totalled six.
“I’ve always been trying to sign Luke Varney for that role,” Warnock said. “I’m sure Luke can get double figures in the Championship and we need double figures from someone in that position.
“You’ve seen Rob’s contribution over the years and I had to make sure we covered that. But we’ve got to get other signings too – marquee signings if you like – and that was the case before Rob left. It’s still the case now.”
Asked about the challenge of stepping into Snodgrass’ shoes, Varney said: “I don’t think we’re here to replace anyone. We’re all here do our own jobs. But I must admit that when I signed he was one of the players I was looking forward to playing with. It’s unfortunate, but he’s a young lad and he can’t miss his chance of playing in the Premier League. I’m sure the fans are disappointed, as the players are, but we’ll move on.”
Snodgrass’ departure after four seasons at Elland Road marks the end of a long-running campaign by the Canaries to sign him and a tireless fight by Warnock to try and persuade the 24-year-old to commit himself to Leeds for another season. His contract had less than 12 months to run and Snodgrass resisted the offer of a new deal, described by Warnock as the most lucrative offered to a player by United in “almost a decade”. As revealed in the YEP yesterday, the unnamed figures behind a proposed takeover of Leeds were involved in last-minute attempts to tie Snodgrass down.
But Norwich’s interest has been clear since they bid around £3.5m for the former Livingston winger last summer, and an offer of £1.5mat the beginning of last week was improved ahead of Leeds’ first pre-season friendly at Farsley.
Snodgrass travelled with Leeds on their tour of Devon and Cornwall in what appears to have been a final effort by Warnock to keep him close, but the United manager claimed the time was right to resolve the uncertainty over Snodgrass’ future with the Championship season due to start in three weeks’ time.
“It’s one of those things,” he said. “You don’t want it to happen and you can tell by the way I’ve been going on that I had no intention of letting him go without a fight. But there comes a point where you have to be a realistic and you have to move on.
“I don’t think we could let it fester. It could only go on so long. There’s no way we could have a situation where we’re in the last week of pre-season and suddenly he goes. We’d have been completely flummoxed then.
“We’ve got to plan without him but we’ve got time to plan without him and in the next two or three weeks I can set about putting everything in place and the icing on the cake.
“I didn’t want him to leave but if he had to leave then it was better happening now than in a month’s time. At least we know where we stand.
“But I really did think we could persuade him to stay for another year. There’s been a lot of (speculation) about Rob, going right back to the time when I first came into Leeds, but I thought we had a good chance.
“I’ve spoken to him so many times and he knew how I felt but I do think his head was turned.
“I’m sure there are people at Norwich who know Rob, inside the dressing room and outside the dressing room, and it’s quite understandable if he sees it as an attractive move.
“If you were in his boots would you do the same? That’s the question you’ve got to ask.
“I thought he’d be better off sticking with us, but some people would disagree. He obviously did.”
City were promoted to the Premier League in 2011 and avoided relegation last year, in part with the help of two others players signed from Leeds, Bradley Johnson and Jonathan Howson.
And in following Howson to Norfolk, Snodgrass is the second club captain to leave for Norwich in the space of six months.
Warnock sought to earn Snodgrass’ commitment with the promise of promotion from the Championship next season but the prolonged wait for completion of takeover negotiations at Elland Road has hampered United’s recruitment drive.
Warnock, however, is still convinced that the planned buy-out of Leeds will strengthen the club significantly in the weeks and months that follow it.
The United boss said: “I’ve been let down by loads of players who I’d have put my life on sticking by me over my career. So nothing surprises me.
“Rob wants to play in the Premier League and he wants to play for Scotland regularly and he thinks this is the right way to make that happen.
“I think Leeds – if we get the right backing now – could be a far bigger club in 12 months’ time than the club he’s going to but that’s my opinion, not his, and time will tell.
“There are a lot of questions but it’s gone now and we’ve got to move on. There’s no one player bigger than a club – I’ve always said that wherever I’ve been.”

Friday, July 27, 2012

LUST on the Radio

Transcript of the latest interview with Gary Cooper (Chairman of Leeds United Supporters Trust) with Katherine Hannah on West Yorkshire Sport, BBC Radio Leeds 25/07/2012
KH: The Leeds United Supporters Trust has again called on the club to be told what is happening particularly in terms of the takeover. So let's get more from the Leeds United Supporters Trust now and talk to Gary Cooper who represents them, good evening Gary
GC: Evening Katherine
KH: Just again, so many questions and so few answers, what is happening with the takeover what do you know?
GC: Excellent question, one we're asking ourselves of both the club and the prospective new buyers. We would really like to hear something, anything at all, just that acknowledges that the deal is ongoing, that things are moving on. I think what has been really disappointing about this whole deal, and we appreciate the need for confidentiality and appreciate the due process and all the rest of it, but one of the main issues that we've had to deal with over the last few years is the fact that the club has seemingly not been interested in engaging with its fans in a way that we feel it should do. Now we've had this long takeover process and it still feels the same. It would be really nice to just have some acknowledgement, not even on a daily basis, just every couple of weeks let the club say to the fans things are still ongoing stop worrying. (With) the fans there's a frenzy out there at the moment for information and again a long hard suffering close season for the supporters of Leeds United when there really doesn't have to be.
KH: A question that keeps coming round and around, how confident are you that this takeover is ever going to happen? Have you got anything to suggest that it's just not dead in the water?
GC: No we have nothing to suggest that at all. Quite the opposite. Our contact with the buyers have suggested that it's moving ever closer. Of course that sounds obvious, every day that goes by I imagine it would be moving ever closer.
KH: What's holding it up then, that's what I don't understand?
GC: A very good question, our contact with the buyers has told us that as far as they're concerned everything's done at their end. The deal's agreed, the money's there, as far as they're concerned all the paperwork's in place it's just a question now of signing it and we honestly don't know what is holding this up.
KH: The Robert Snodgrass situation is causing so much concern for a lot of fans he is widely expected to become a Premier league player, and likely to go to Norwich. In your view what does his expected possible departure say about the state of things at Elland Road? Because many fans thought that, well, look this takeover, when it goes through will be enough to keep him now it looks as though he's leaving.
GC: I think it speaks absolute volumes Katherine. Robert's been quite vocal in the past he raised his concerns at the end of last season with regards the sale of Johnny Howson, again to Norwich. He raised his concerns with the board last summer and was made certain assurances and promises which certainly didn't come to fruition and a few weeks ago, when we released a players statement, Robert was a player who expressed his desire to let the fans know that he shared our ambition that he wanted to captain Leeds United to and promotion to the Premier League. I feel strongly that Mr. Warnock has done has much as he can to hold on to Robert's services, I know that the incoming buyers wanted to hold on to Robert's services so therefore the deal lies with Robert and the incumbent owners. If the incumbent owners are accepting of a fee and Robert is willing to discuss that with the club that are making the offer then it tells me that Roberts patience has run out and this club is still willing to be a selling club.
KH: Is it a lack of patience on his part though or do we have to accept that his head has been turned by an opportunity to play in the Premier League with former colleagues, so many people are saying that Leeds have turned into a feeder club for Norwich, he's got ambitions as a player so is it a money thing or an ambition thing rather than a lack of takeover happening?
GC: We have close contacts with people connected very closely with Robert Snodgrass and I have to tell you, in my opinion, the money is completely irrelevant, I may be wrong (I’ve been wrong in the past) but that's my opinion. I think what Robert wanted to see was ambition, I think he made that clear, he certainly made it clear to us as a Trust when we communicated the players concerns a month or two back and I don't think that money is an issue. What I fear most of all, and I think would be the sad thing, not for Leeds united, but for Robert and Johnny and Bradley Johnson is I fear that at the end of this season we're going to wave at them as they come down into the championship and Leeds United return to the Premiership. How sad would that be that the club hasn't had the vision to hold onto those players long enough for that to happen. To offer them the same kind of ambitious future that Norwich are obviously offering, and yes Robert's head has been turned of course it has, it's the Premier League.
KH: But in terms of talking about ambition Leeds have signed quite a few players, which in itself is quite unusual over the past few days, I don't wish to be disrespectful to those signings, I haven't seen them play in a Leeds shirt you have to bide your time and see how they get on. But when Leeds are signing ex-Portsmouth players, David Norris signing today, along with Jason Pearce, Jamie Ashdown and Luke Varney, the criticism is that are we becoming a the new Portsmouth in a way? Are those signings enough of a show of ambition to keep the better players like Robert Snodgrass?
GC: Somebody suggested it would be a good idea for Norwich should cut out the middle man and just go straight to Portsmouth in the future. It's almost an ironic take on the situation. I don't want to criticise any of the players that are coming in, I think the players that are coming in are going to improve the squad. But, Katherine, Neil Warnock made it very clear to us at the end of the season, we had a poor end to the season and Neil made it clear the first team needed wholesale changes. What my concern is that are the players we are bringing in going to provide that quality and change that's needed in the first team? Yes, they improve the squad but it's the first team that are lacking not the squad.
KH: Finally then Gary, I follow lots of Leeds supporters on Twitter and as always with anything like this you get varying themes on social media. There a lot of fans who regard the Leeds United Supporters Trust with some scepticism and I'm sure you have seen many tweets and messages saying you don't know anything, this is a load of cobblers. What would you say to reassure them?
GC: There's nothing I can say to reassure some people, Katherine, in all honesty, the Trust comes in for an awful lot of criticism and I think a lot of that is our own fault. We've been the only body connected with Leeds United this close season that have been willing to put our head above the parapet and try and keep the supporters informed as much as we can. The bottom line is this, one day this takeover will go through, one day the full story and the truth will be told. On that day I would very much like to meet and shake the hands of the people who have criticised, not believed and welcome them as members of the Trust to the truth and the new world at Leeds United. I don't want fans divided, I never have done it's not the aim of the Trust to divide fans it's the aim of the trust to bring fans together. I'd like those fans in the future, once the full story's told, to have the decency to come forward and say, “fair enough, we were wrong”.
KH: Always good to talk to you Gary, thank you for coming on the programme this evening.
GC: No problem Katherine, thank you.
KH: All the best now. That's Gary Cooper, who represents the Leeds United Supporters Trust.

"Bidder is an offshore bank" - Adam Pope on Twitter

Twitter.com 27/7/12
Adam Pope
Re #lufc takeover from @IAA_Bahrain "Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa was merely the advisor for the interested party." continued

re #lufc takeover continued "The bidder is an off shore bank in Bahrain who has gathered a group of investors from the region." continued

re #lufc takeover "They are interested in developing the property associated with the club." continued

re #lufc takeover "The bank wants to remain anonymous at the moment until the due diligence period is over." finished

Good times, Bad times - New pages uploaded at mightyleeds.co.uk

In these times of trouble, Mother Mary comforts me, whisper words of wisdom, let it be, let it be...


29 November 2011 - Nottingham Forest 0 Leeds United 4

The shocking news of the death of former Leeds midfielder Gary Speed united football and the players and their supporters gave the best possible tribute with a memorable evening at the City Ground

2 November 2011 - Leeds United 0 Blackpool 5

A drepressing evening at Elland Road as Paul Rachubka's first tem career with the Whites was cruelly brought to a sorry conclusion by hapless and nervy performance in front of the club's supporters

19 January 2011 - Leeds United 1 Arsenal 3

After pulling off a shock draw at the Emirates, United couldn't really compete with Arsenal in the Elland Road replay, but had the satisfaction of the best goal of the night, a screamer from Bradley Johnson

8 January 2011 - Arsenal 0 Leeds United 0

"THEY'RE AT IT AGAIN!" A year after high profile FA Cup games against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds were given another glamour tie against high quality opponents

28 September 2010 - Leeds United 4 Preston North End 6

It was the lowest point of a roller coaster return to the Championship. United fans would long remember this dismal night at Elland Road and wonder quite how a Leeds team could have collapsed in the sensational way they did

Season Review 2010/11 - 2 - 3

A return to the Championship after three seasons in the wilderness brings a promotion chase before a dismal end of season run ends with United narrowly missing out on the Play Offs but beating the champions on the final day

Leeds City players

Joe Green (left-back) 1915

James Johnson (right winger) 1913-14

George Fenwick (left winger) 1913

Val Lawrence (wing-half) 1914-15

Wilson Wainwright (left-half) 1914-16

Jack McQuillan (left-back) 1914-15

Fred Blackman (right-back) 1914-19

Jack Morris (centre-half) 1905-06

Leeds United players

Wayne Andrews (striker) 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2012


leedsunited.com 26/7/12
Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign Portsmouth midfielder David Norris, subject to a medical.
The 31-year-old will travel to Thorp Arch before a deal can be finalised, enabling him to make the move to Elland Road.
Norris was linked with United last summer before he moved from Ipswich to Portsmouth. He has made over 400 career appearances and has featured for Boston, Bolton, Hull and Plymouth before moving to Portman Road in 2007.
"I've always liked him since he was at Plymouth and I've followed him since then," said United manager Neil Warnock.
"He has good energy and the way we are at the moment you can't get enough good players in that area. I think he'll fit in well, he'll fight for his place and give us the competition. He'll be another good signing I think.
"He's got a knack for goals. I've already mentioned about Paul Green scoring a few goals this year and it's the same with Norris. I think he has got that in his locker.
"I'm looking for goals from midfield to help us with the loss of Snodgrass. We need to compensate that even though we're looking to sign strikers. That will go a long way to help us with goals from other areas as well."
The midfielder was attracting interest from a host of clubs and media reports had linked him strongly with a switch to Sheffield Wednesday.
"I think David always wanted to sign for us," said the boss. "It was just tying up everything and being able to give him the go-ahead. There's a number of clubs he's spoken to who were hoping and hanging on for him so it's good to put it over the line."
David's arrival will strengthen the ex-Portsmouth connection at Elland Road and he will join up with former team-mates Jason Pearce, Jamie Ashdown, and Luke Varney. "You saw what Varney's contribution was on Wednesday night," said the boss. "We've got some super good professionals which is what you need. We still want some icing on the cake, but we're working hard on that now. This will be completed in the next 24 hours or so all being well and then we can move on to our next target.
"Rodolph Austin should also be concluded as well which will be another good plus, then there's another couple of areas we'll be looking at. There's a couple of who could be leaving as well. There's one or two after Paynter, we've had enquiries about O'Brien, and enquiries about another couple of players so we'll see what happens."

Snod snubbed Warnock pleas

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/7/12
By Phil Hay
Neil Warnock was facing up to the painful loss of Robert Snodgrass today after Leeds United failed with a last-ditch attempt to keep the winger at Elland Road.
Snodgrass has opened talks with Norwich City and will complete a move to Carrow Road in the next 48 hours if he and the Premier League club agree personal terms.
United admitted defeat in their battle to keep Snodgrass after receiving a £3million bid and being told by the Scotland international that he wanted to call time on his four-year career at Leeds.
The YEP understands that United’s prospective new owners – a group from the Middle East who are working towards a takeover after beginning due diligence on the club’s accounts – were directly involved in efforts to persuade Snodgrass to remain at Elland Road and sign a new deal.
But the planned takeover remains incomplete almost two months after United began negotiating with the unnamed buyers, and Snodgrass delivered a major blow to Warnock by leaving United’s pre-season camp in Cornwall yesterday, travelling to Norwich to begin negotiations.
The Leeds manager fought a running battle to retain Snodgrass, naming him as club captain in February and convincing United’s board to offer him an extension to a contract which expires next summer. The deal would have made Snodgrass the club’s highest earner.
Warnock, who was on the verge of signing David Norris from Portsmouth today, said: “I don’t think I’ve ever tried harder in my whole career to keep one player.
“I offered him the best contract he’s ever had and the best contract the club’s offered anybody for the best part of a decade.
“I made him captain and everyone knew I wanted to build the team around him. I couldn’t have been more open about that.
“But what do you do when people have their heads turned? Everyone at the club fought to keep him, talking to him about the future and what we saw our future being. I honestly think we did everything we could. In the end it’s down to the player himself because I don’t want to keep a player who doesn’t want to be here or who’s going to be worried about getting injured for the next six months.
“The game doesn’t work like that.
“There were other factors too and the takeover and all the complexity of the due diligence has probably gone on too long for us to sort this out.
“If it (the takeover) had been done three or four weeks ago then we’d have had a better chance but everyone behind the scenes is trying to do what’s best.
“These things take time and there’s nothing anyone can do about that.”
Warnock was hoping for some welcome relief in the transfer market today with Leeds looking to beat Sheffield Wednesday to the signature of Portsmouth’s Norris.
The 31-year-old midfielder spoke with Wednesday at the start of this week but is understood to have opted for a switch to Elland Road.
Norris has been on Warnock’s radar since the end of last season and the 31-year-old will become the fourth player to join Leeds from relegated Portsmouth if he puts pen to paper on a contact at Leeds.
But the impending departure of Snodgrass – signed by Leeds from Livingston exactly four years ago – is a major setback for Warnock ahead of a season in which the United boss planned to construct his team side around the forward.
“It makes my job that little bit more difficult but today’s another day and I’ll pick myself up,” Warnock said.
“I need to start thinking about players who want to be here, not players who don’t. Rob made it clear he didn’t want to play for us.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

L.U.S.T. Update: It's time to Involve The Fans in Leeds United's Future

LUST Statement 25/7/12
On behalf of our 7,000 members, the Leeds United Supporters' Trust want to express our frustration and disappointment with the way the takeover of Leeds United is being handled. We believe the time has come for the fans to be told what is happening at their club.
L.U.S.T. has done all it can this summer to keep anxious fans as informed as possible, without compromising our contacts.
But the complete silence from the buyers, and the wholly inadequate statements from the club itself, have kept Leeds fans in the dark about what will become of their club after this summer.
We respect the need for confidentiality, and that the legal process needs time. However, we believe that Leeds United's fans should also be respected. One of the aims of our Vision Statement is for the fans to be seen as an integral part of the club again, after nearly a decade of being left on the sidelines by the current board.
By not responding to calls from the fans for information, the new owners are not beginning this key relationship in a positive way. Our members want to support a transparent and open Leeds United, and being kept in the dark about who currently owns or runs their football club does nothing to achieve this.
The new owners need to start work now if they are to build a strong, mutually trusting relationship with the fans at Elland Road; a relationship that L.U.S.T. believe is vital if the club is to be successful. The fans have been kept too much in the dark this summer, and patience has worn thin. The fans need to be told now what is happening at their club, if any trust is to be established.
Today's news that CEO Shaun Harvey has accepted a bid for Robert Snodgrass, our best player and club captain, does nothing to help build this trust.
Neil Warnock has been clear since he arrived that he wants to keep Snodgrass at Leeds and build a team around him. Robert himself has said publicly that he would be happy to stay at Leeds if the club would change its track record of unfulfilled ambition under Bates and Harvey, and if he could be convinced that his ambition of captaining Leeds to the Premier League would be matched.
With pre-season well underway and Robert Snodgrass now in talks with Norwich, what are Leeds fans to make of the prospects for the new season at Elland Road? Does the sale of our captain mean another season of broken promises for the supporters he leaves behind?
Whatever the outcome of the takeover negotiations, the most important people at Leeds United will, as always, be the fans. Despite being ignored by the current owners for years, the fans remain as consistent and loyal to the club as ever. The hope is there that new owners will mean a new relationship between fans and club, and this is something that our membership of over 7,000 Leeds fans wants to see.
L.U.S.T. will always do our utmost to make sure that our membership's voices are heard. We are ready to work positively with our new owners to bring about the aims and ambitions of our Vision Statement, and excited about helping to build the future of the club under new ownership.
We believe that this future should start today, not at some indeterminate point in the future. The fans have been incredibly patient, but patience only lasts so long; and Wolverhampton Wanderers will not be patient when they come to Elland Road on 18th August. Leeds United Supporters' Trust call on all parties involved in the future of Leeds United to recognise the important role that the fans play and give them the respect they deserve.

Snodgrass quits Leeds as Norwich stump up £3m

Yorkshire Post 25/7/12
LEEDS United captain Robert Snodgrass is on the verge of leaving Elland Road after the club accepted a £3 million offer from Norwich City.
Snodgrass has quit United’s pre-season training camp in Cornwall and is due to open talks with Norwich today ahead of a proposed move to the Premier League club.
It is understood Norwich have negotiated a £3 million deal with £1.5 million to be paid up front.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock has been fighting to retain Snodgrass ever since his appointment as manager in February, naming the Scotland international as club captain and offering him a deal which would have made him the club’s highest paid player.
But Snodgrass declined to accept that offer and entered the final year of his existing contract at the beginning of this month.
Warnock told United’s official website: “I can honestly say that in all my time in football I’ve never worked so hard to keep a player. He’s made it clear what he wants to do and he’s had his head turned.
“He wants to play in the Premier League. He believes his Scotland international career will be better served in the Premier League but I’m not so sure. I’m very disappointed but life moves on.”
Snodgrass joined Leeds from Livingston in the summer of 2008 and has made almost 200 competitive appearances for the club.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


leedsunited.com 24/7/12
A busy week of deals delights manager...
United manager Neil Warnock is delighted at the prospect of welcoming four more new faces to his squad.
Former Portsmouth striker Luke Varney is set to join up with his new team-mates for the remainder of the tour of the south west, goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown and striker Andy Gray were already with the travelling party and have agreed deals to stay on, and a further deal has been agreed to sign SK Brann's Jamaican international midfielder Rodolph Austin.
Striker Gray is the most familiar face to Leeds fans having started his career with the club. He returned as a trialist during the summer, and scored two goals in the 5-2 friendly win at Farsley last week. Andy is finalising a one-year deal with the club.
"Right from day one he's always wanted to sign a year," said the boss. "I feel we did have options, but with the squad that we have he gives us good cover and there's always a goal in Andy. He's also desperate to play for Leeds again.
"I've known him at Sheffield United as well and I thought for the sort of contract he's come in on he's worth a shout. He's not signed a ten year contract. It's only one year and I think he'll be a good asset to the squad and he's good in the dressing room."
Goalkeeper Ashdown was a surprise face to Leeds fans when he emerged for the warm-up at Tavistock on Monday at the same time as his two-year deal was being finalised. Jamie, who was at Portsmouth last season, made his debut as a second half substitute.
"I spoke to Jamie a few weeks ago and he was aware of my interest," said the boss. "He's had Middlesbrough and a few others talking to him, but I wanted him to sign and commit himself and this week he told me he would. He has good presence and he'll be good for Paddy as well."
Another arrival to be confirmed was Portsmouth striker Luke Varney. The marksman has been linked with the club for some weeks, but a deal the player underwent a medical on Monday before a deal was agreed for him to join the club.
"I've been after Luke for seven years on and off, and spoken to him a number of times with different clubs, so hopefully it's a sign of the times that we've talked him into signing for us," said the boss.
"We're still looking for a number of players but he's that kind of player...unpredictable, and the fans will like him. I'd like to think he can a few goals next year, and I think he'll enjoy the atmosphere at Elland Road."
While not signed, sealed and delivered, another deal agreed was that to sign midfielder Austin from SK Brann. Rodolph is another long-time target of the manager's and he's delighted to finally snare his man.
"I've tried to sign Rodolph an few times," said the boss. "They wanted £2m last time and I didn't think he was worth that type of money, but we've now agreed a fee.
"He's probably not one that catches the eye but he's one of the first on the manager's sheet. He'll have to get his work permit and what we need. We're in the process of dealing with that now, so hopefully it'll be sorted fairly quickly so we can work with him."
And, while admitting he's delighted with the work so far this summer, the boss says his strengthening mission isn't yet concluded.
"It's been one of the hardest summers I've ever had," he said. "But I feel there's still some crucial signings to come. We're working hard behind the scenes. It's a case of trying to get things over the line. Everyone is trying to help me get the players. We need a couple of excellent ones. We have to wheel and deal in that area. I think we have the nucleus, we have fringe players as well, it's just the icing on the cake now."

Quartet are only Start!

Yorkshire Evening Post 24/7/12
Neil Warnock’s plans for next season took a big step forward with four deals in one day – but the Leeds United manager insisted: “The crucial signings are still to come.”
Warnock’s persistent work in the transfer market paid off yesterday as agreements with out-of-contract trialists Andy Gray and Jamie Ashdown followed confirmation that Luke Varney and Rodolph Austin were destined for Elland Road.
Leeds have agreed a one-year deal with Gray, the 34-year-old striker who began his career with United, and goalkeeper Ashdown complete a move to Elland Road in time to make his first appearances in last night’s pre-season friendly at Tavistock.
Varney, meanwhile, is poised to join Leeds after passing a medical and agreeing personal terms and his transfer will be officially finalised once the striker and Portsmouth reach a settlement over wages deferred by him during Portsmouth’s administration.
Austin’s £300,000 move from SK Brann – a signing which Leeds lined up on Sunday evening – is also pending, subject to the Jamaican midfielder securing a UK work permit, and the flurry of announcements took Warnock’s tally of summer signings to eight, added to Jason Pearce, Adam Drury, Paul Green and Paddy Kenny.
But Warnock said: “I feel like the crucial signings are still to come.
“We need a couple of what I’d call excellent signings, maybe three of them. There’s some wheeling and dealing to be done in that area and it’s a priority for us now.
“But I do feel the ball’s rolling. It’s taken time and it’s been hard work but we’ve put these signings to bed and I’ve got to work hard again to get the next one down.”
Asked if further arrivals were dependent on funds provided to him by the planned takeover of Leeds, Warnock said: “We’re working hard to get the players in and trying to get deals over the line.
“I’m as much in the dark as everyone else regarding the timing (of the proposed takeover). All I know is that everyone’s trying to help me secure players. I want to bring in the best players I can.”
Warnock and his squad are one match into their three-game tour of Devon and Cornwall and they recorded their second pre-season win with a 6-0 victory at Tavistock.
Varney is expected to link up with his new team-mates in the south of England during the next 24 hours but Austin is unlikely to play any part in the tour due to the formalities of his transfer from Norway.
Warnock said: “Luke should be down in the next 24 hours but Rodolph will need to go home for his work permit and everything else. But it’s important to get him involved as soon as possible, just to give us a couple of weeks to work with him.”
Leeds struck a deal to sign Varney last week, agreeing to pay the £200,000 sum still owed to Derby County following his move to Portsmouth a year ago, but completion of the signing was delayed by financial complications at Portsmouth’s end. The south-coast club were working this morning to resolve the problem of wages owed to Varney.
Gray, meanwhile, secured his deal on the back of two weeks spent training with Leeds and Ashdown, who was out of contract after leaving Portsmouth at the end of last season, is arriving at Elland Road as understudy for first-choice Kenny.
Leeds were effectively without goalkeeping cover after selling Andy Lonergan to Bolton Wanderers and transfer-listing Paul Rachubka.
Ashdown and Gray both featured against Tavistock but defender Andy O’Brien was missing again with Warnock revealing the experienced centre-back has been in talks with an unnamed club.

Leeds Utd win battle over costs of policing matches at Elland Road

Yorkshire Post 24/7/12
LEEDS United have won their High Court action over who should pay for policing of matches at their Elland Road stadium.
The Championship side asked for a decision on which of the services deployed by West Yorkshire Police for the last three seasons were special police services, and whether it was entitled to be repaid for services wrongly categorised.
The litigation involved policing in the extended footprint of land around the stadium which is not owned or leased by the club - who claimed this fell within the scope of a constable’s normal common law obligations to maintain public order.
Mr Justice Eady, in London, said those services could not be classified as special police services and the club, whose home matches have one of the worst records of football-related violence in the country, should be repaid.
He concluded that the services rendered fell within the normal constabulary duty to keep the peace.
“More generally, it seems wrong to discount the majority of well-behaved fans who come to Elland Road, whether club supporters or visitors, all of whom retain their status as members of the public. In that capacity, they too are entitled to expect police protection.
“In any event, I consider that there would be insuperable difficulties in seeking to sub-divide people, in public highways and other spaces, when trying to assess to whose benefit such duties were carried out.
“They are intended to keep the Queen’s peace in the interests of the general public.” Lawyers for West Yorkshire Police said the policing provided in the extended footprint was exclusively - or nearly exclusively - for the protection of those attending Leeds United’s matches and the benefit of the club, and not for the safety of the public at large.
They argued that the club’s claim was wrong in law, offended logic and was not supportable on the facts.
In his ruling, the judge said there was no single drain on West Yorkshire Police’s diminishing resources greater than that of policing the club’s matches and it was hardly surprising that it wished to recover as much as it reasonably could.
“During the season, home matches take place generally once a fortnight. One can only admire the stoicism of such officers who are required to carry out these stressful duties, not because of some genuine emergency, but simply as a matter of routine.”
He said he appreciated that his decision was unfortunate not only for West Yorkshire Police but also for the public purse.
If the Government should wish to extend the scope of special police services in such circumstances so as to ensure recoupment of police costs, legislation would be required.
He did not accept that his ruling would have the profound effect that police officers would not be able to charge for services rendered for cycle races on public roads or by escorting articulated lorries.
“The situations are not comparable. Police officers performing such duties are not there, normally, for the purpose of preventing public disorder or crimes of violence.”

Monday, July 23, 2012


leedsunited.com 23/7/12
United boss strengthens further...
Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign Portsmouth striker Luke Varney on a two-year contract.
The 29-year-old completed a medical at United's training ground on Tuesday before agreeing a contract that sees him become the latest addition to Neil Warnock's squad.
Luke, who has scored 68 goals in 288 career appearances, netted six goals in 28 starts for Pompey last season.
He started his career at Crewe in 2003 and after a £2m move to Charlton he has enjoyed spells with Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, and made 30 Premier League appearances for Blackpool, scoring five goals.
Meanwhile, the club has also agreed a deal to sign Jamaican international Rodolph Austin.
The 27-year-old, who can play in central midfield or at the back, is currently playing in Norway with SK Brann and the United manager is a long-time admirer.
The boss took Austin on trial at QPR last summer, but was unable to conclude a deal to take him to Loftus Road. However, he has renewed his interest once again, and is now hopeful that a deal will be agreed to bring the player to Leeds.


leedsunited.com 23/7/12
Leeds cruise to pre-season victory...
TAVISTOCK 0, UNITED 6 (White 40, Green 45, Own Goal 61, Rogers 77, Poleon 86, Thompson 88)
Leeds: Kenny (Ashdown 46), Lees, Crainie (Byram 68), Pearce (N Turner 80), Drury (L Turner 80) Snodgrass (Thompson 68), Brown (Pugh 46), Green (Poleon 68), White (Rogers 68), McCormack (Nunez 68), Becchio (Gray 46)
Goals from Aidy White and Paul Green shortly before the break perhaps didn't tell the whole story of a half which United pretty much dominated with some neat passing and movement.
Ross McCormack did send one early chance fizzing wide while Tom Lees was a constant threat with crosses from the right flank.
Green was almost rewarded with a goal on the 20-minute mark but his shot was blocked on the line by Snodgrass. Jason Pearce also went close with a header while Snodgrass and McCormack both had further half chances to open the scoring.
But Leeds did go 1-0 up five minutes before the break when White latched onto a long ball forward and delivered a quality finish.
The second goal came on the stroke of half-time when Green finished off a move that started with a McCormack free-kick and involved Snodgrass.
The second half started in similar vein with United dictating the play, although the final occasionally went astray as United pushed forward.
A third goal came on the hour mark, though, when White delivered a cross from the left and a Tavistock defender, under no real pressure, made a hash of the clearance and sliced it past his own keeper.
McCormack went close again after another good Snodgrass ball, but the manager finally made his wholesale changes with 22 minutes remaining when he swapped the bulk of his side.
One of those replacements, Ramon Nunez, had an early opportunity saved, and he followed that by sending a great cross which Dominic Poleon headed wide.
Moments later, it was 4-0, though, when Robbie Rogers smashed the ball home after a poor clearance by the home goalkeeper.
Andy Gray went close twice also, but a fifth goal came four minutes from time when Poleon cut inside from the left before delivering a smart finish.
Tavistock were struggling to compete now, and Zac Thompson led another raid forward when he finished off an advancing run with another good finish to make it 6-0 with two minutes remaining.


leedsunited.com 23/7/12
Gray and Ashdown to join up permanently...
Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has strengthened his squad further with the recruitment of striker Andy Gray and goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.
Striker Gray will make his return to Leeds more permanent after agreeing a one-year deal to re-join the club where he started his career.
The 34-year-old made 29 appearances for the club at the start of a career that has taken in 11 clubs and over 500 senior appearances, and he has now returned to his roots.
Andy joined the club on a trial basis at the start of pre-season and made an immediate impact last week when he scored twice on his "second debut" against Farsley in a 5-2 victory.
Andy is joined by former Portsmouth goalkeeper Ashdown in agreeing a deal to join up with United.
Ashdown made his debut as a trialist in the pre-season friendly at Tavistock on Monday evening.
Ashdown, who was a regular at Portsmouth last season, has joined up with the squad in Cornwall this week and has agreed a deal to join the club on a permanent basis.
The 31-year-old has made 163 career appearances, the majority coming during two separate spells on the south coast at Fratton Park. He started his career with hometown club Reading and has also had spells at Bournemouth, Rushden and Diamonds, and Norwich City.
United boss Neil Warnock allowed Andy Lonergan to move on to Bolton Wanderers, following the arrival of Paddy Kenny at the club, and immediately confirmed that he would be looking to recruit a second goalkeeper.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A slow summer has left Warnock playing catch up - Hay

Yorkshire Post 21/7/12
The success of Leeds United’s summer to date can be judged on the group of players who have trained at Thorp Arch during the past 10 days.
In simple terms the club’s squad contains more transfer-listed members than it does new signings; under-subscribed for pre-season and nowhere near ready for the main event.
There is time yet to remedy that but the periphery of the new Championship season will soon be counted in days rather than weeks. The laboured trudge towards supplying the club’s manager, Neil Warnock, with the squad he asked for cannot continue much longer, not unless next season is to rest on a wing, a prayer and the scramble that is the latter stages of the transfer window.
Beyond the obvious shortage of money at Elland Road – a shortage which seems insurmountable without external investment – and a transfer market which one agent called “painfully slow in general”, the pending takeover of Leeds United is the cause of this. It is to be hoped that a takeover will also be the solution. As and when they take their seats, the priority of the club’s prospective new owners must be to give their manager a chance.
There is a crackle of excitement in Leeds and rightly so. The time is right for fresh funding, a fresh attitude, a fresh start. Nothing says that more than Warnock’s struggle in the transfer market or a week of speculation about the future of Robert Snodgrass. If the buyers in question have a finger in the air or a proper handle on social media they will know that they are wanted, regardless of their anonymity and the absence of any vision statement. It should be clear too that they are needed with some urgency.
That is, of course, assuming that their intentions are honourable and their colours don’t run. It is churlish to roll out the be-careful-what-you-wish-for mantra when credible information about the investors goes no further than strong links to the Middle East and Bahrain in particular. Leeds seem convinced by their suitability and Warnock does too. Warnock, you would think, has worked under too many loose cannons to pander to any future employers. It is his view and his continuing commitment to Leeds which engenders optimism.
It is essential first that the takeover crosses the line; that the promise of change comes to something meaningful. But with due patience, United’s new owners will deserve the same careful scrutiny which Ken Bates and the present board at Leeds have experienced.
The natural assumption is that the buyers have riches or substantial wealth. They will be expected to prove as much quickly. On the basis that Leeds expect them to pass the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test, their moral fibre ought not to be in doubt. What matters to Leeds and their supporters in particular is their understanding of how English football works and their creation of a coherent plan to enhance a fine club. It is a heavy responsibility, as they will find out.
Might the buyers, for example, look at Snodgrass’ situation and ask why he has not been ring-fenced against all-but ludicrous offers to sign him. He is Leeds’ most talented player and their most valuable. Moreover, he is the player who United’s manager sought to retain above all others between April and September. It is hard to see how he could countenance Snodgrass’ departure with anything other than a desperately heavy heart.
Leeds did their bit by rejecting a £1.5m offer from Norwich City on Monday, but the fact the Canaries returned with an improved bid within 72 hours suggests they believe a deal is there to be done. Far from coming to life this week, it appears that Norwich’s intentions have been known for much of the close season. They are set on making this transfer happen. And if the incumbent regime at Elland Road are indeed preparing to vacate the building, selling Snodgrass would be a fitting end to much of what has gone before.
Any sale will come with standard explanations – Snodgrass wanted Premier League football, his contract is running down, it makes financial sense, as it did with Jonathan Howson in January. But the doubt surrounding him is a consequence of the way the summer has gone. It has failed to keep the wolf from the door.
Warnock admitted some time ago that the only motivation for Snodgrass to sign a new and improved contract would be indisputable proof that Leeds were building a squad capable of toppling the Championship next season. Even allowing for four encouraging signings, that is still a promise rather than a reality. The transformation has not been spectacular enough, not with Warnock constrained by what virtually amounts to a one in, one out policy.
The purpose of any takeover – or any takeover involving a stable club – should be to nurture the club over a period of years. The grand scheme of United’s next owners is ultimately more important than what happens over the course of a single season. But the season ahead matters, to Warnock, his players, to potential signings and to the thousands who waded in to buy season tickets on the back of a lame campaign. There is a risk amid heady talk of new ownership that the task in hand is neglected or forgotten.
It is why confirmation of a takeover will only be the start of all that needs to happen. In four weeks’ time, Wolverhampton Wanderers come to Elland Road for the first match of the Championship season. Before long that fixture will be tomorrow - much like the buy-out of Leeds United has been for several weeks. So close to completion yet not quite official; the ultimate game of patience. As one supporter said yesterday: “It’s the hope that kills you.”

Jones expecting exciting two weeks at Leeds

Leeds United assistant manager Mick Jones is hoping it will be an exciting time over the next few weeks as boss Neil Warnock looks to strengthen his squad.
Warnock admitted earlier in the day that he was looking to bring in around eight players before the season starts.
Jones has worked with Warnock for most of the last 23 years since first teaming up with him at Notts County in 1989 and he says that he has never seen Warnock working as hard as he has this summer.
Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Jones said, "I have never known Neil work as hard as this. He has been at it all summer and more so the last week or so.
"I just hope it will be exciting times over the next ten to fourteen days."
The club have been boosted by the news that out of contract Aidy White has agreed a new three-year deal today, after looking like he would be leaving this summer.
Warnock also believes that midfielder Michael Brown will sign the new one-year deal offered to him over the summer.
Leeds continue to be strongly linked with a number of players with Lee Peltier, Luke Varney and Rodolph Austin all reported to be close to a Leeds move.
With the takeover talk also reported to be close to a conclusion, it could be an exciting end to the month of July after a frustrating summer so far for Warnock.


leedsunited.com 20/7/12
FARSLEY 2 (Muller 60, Watson 68), UNITED 5 (Gray 31, 35, Rogers 36, Paynter 64, Payne 89)
Farsley: Guildford, Hay, Serrant, Briggs, Jackson, Radcliffe, Watson, Bambrook, Jones, Grant, Priestly. Subs: Muller, Carr, Pacey, Burgess, Dugdale, Ferdinand, Flowers.
Leeds: Kenny, Lees, Crainie, Pearce, Pugh, Brown, Green, Rogers, McCormack, White, Gray.
Leeds: (2nd half) Cairns, L Turner, Killock, Gimpel, Taylor, Byram, Thompson, Lenighan (Poleon), Payne, Nunez, Paynter
Leeds United opened up the pre-season campaign with two trialists in a senior starting line-up at Farsley. Former Portsmouth defender Martin Crainie and ex-Leeds youngster Andy Gray were both included in a side that also included debut men Paddy Kenny and Paul Green.
Manager Neil Warnock had stated his intentions to play two different teams in each half, and he was also quick to point out that after a heavy morning on the training ground, he was treating the match as a fitness exercise first and foremost.
As it was the opening 10 minutes or so saw United play some decent football, knocking the ball around well as the players looked to get the feel of a return to action after the summer break. Gray caused an early problem, Ross McCormack had a free-kick blocked, and Green looked to get his head on the end of an early corner.
United were firmly in control of the contest by the midway stage, having kept the ball for long periods, creating numerous half-chances. Robbie Rogers and Gray both had headed attempts, Danny Pugh screwed a shot wide, and Rogers had another attempt which was marginally off target.
The pace of Aidy White was also a major threat while Lees advanced well from the right back role and delivered some telling first half crosses. Farsley couldn't get out of their own half and a goal seemed only a matter of time.
McCormack sent a shot fizzing narrowly wide after Gray flicked on a long ball, but the opener came moments later when Gray converted after a good ball through to mark his return to the club as a trialist with a "second debut"goal.
Moments later, White again stormed forward and on this occasion he was denied with a low, skidding effort by Farsley keeper Tom Guildford who parried the shot.
But it was 2-0 10 minutes before the break when Gray got up well at the far post to head home a cross for his second goal of the night, and a third followed moments later when Rogers got up well to plant a Michael Brown cross past Guildford and into the goal.
And that proved to be the last meaningful action of a half that had seen United ease back into the scheme of things by playing some decent football to build a commanding a lead.
As expected the manager made wholesale changes at half-time with a largely youthful team including the experience of Billy Paynter and Ramon Nunez. The flow of the game was the same, though, and Nunez was denied twice, Paynter went close a couple of times, and both Sanchez Payne and Simon Lenighan tried their luck.
But, while Kenny didn't have a save to make on his debut, his deputy Alex Cairns was called upon to make a smart stop before the hour mark, and he could do little as Farsley pulled a goal back, courtesy of an Adam Muller effort from out wide which was deflected past the United goalkeeper.
The three-goal advantage was restored within minutes, though, when Paynter scored with a good header after a Nunez cross.
But Farsley pulled another back with around 20 minutes remaining when Ryan Watson scored with a terrific strike from outside of the box.
That really was the cue for the game to head towards what will be a familar conclusion over the next weeks with the contest becoming bitty and disjointed due to the number of changes, and with little meaningful action taking place.
There was still time for a fantastic fifth goal for Leeds, though, when Sanchez Payne scored an absolute screamer from outside of the box to wrap up a comfortable victory to kick off pre-season.

Leeds United – An Open Letter To Robert Snodgrass

Football FanCast 20/7/12
Written by Steve-Turner

Dear Robert.
You are our captain. You are the player we look to when times are tough, when we need inspiring, when we can see no way out. Throughout the last few years those times have come thick and fast, both you and us, the fans, have faced battle after battle together.
Like you, we know how it feels to be lied to, to watch our best players forced out and labelled as the unreasonable ones, as the ones chasing riches.
We feel the same disappointment and disillusion that you do, as another transfer window slams shut with no noticeable replacement.
We are the same as you, captain. We are Leeds through and through.
Over time you have shown again and again that you have the club at heart. You dared to speak up when nobody else would. Leeds legends stood before us all and would read the script given to them week after week, proclaiming that there were no issues at the club, that the players leaving really didn’t want to stay, that we were the ones in the wrong.
Then you, our captain, tore their web of lies apart. You openly questioned the ambition of those in charge of the club, you took a risk, and you took it for us. You gave us hope, you made us see that we were right all along.
As time has passed, we’ve learnt that hope is a feeling better suppressed, as it is seldom realised. Unfortunately, at times it is all we have had to cling to.
But here we are, hoping once again. This time, we have reason to believe. We are close to entering a new era at Elland Road and finally banishing the lies, hurt and destroying the poison that has brought our great club crashing to its knees.
We are almost free.
Now, we turn to you. You have been given the choice of leaving for the promised land now, or to have one final push with the team you have fought for throughout. Now is the time to believe, the manager knows what it takes and he has pinned his hopes firmly on your shoulders. You are the player he wants to build his team around. You are the player that he wants the rest to look to when they need to find the extra ounce of energy to push themselves over the line. You are the flagship for an entire football club.
You have the choice.
In a players career, they can play for many clubs and achieve relative success before becoming a recognised name in the clubs history, but how many get the chance to truly be remembered for something great? Nobody doubts that you will have success in future if you leave, but consider this -
You have the opportunity as the captain of Leeds United to lead them back to the Premier League.
Now is the time to forget the past, forget the lies, betrayal, the hurt. This is where we start again, marching on together until the world stops going round. We need someone to take hold and lead the fight through every battle the coming season brings, someone who can drag the players to their feet and push them to their limit to ensure victory, someone to ignite the roar at Elland Road, and someone to lift in the air when we finally return to glory.
‘’Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall” You have the chance to rewrite the wrongs of the those in the past, the chance to restore a club to it’s former glory. You have the opportunity to hear the roar at the final whistle of the game that seals our promotion, knowing that you will forever be known as the captain that returned Leeds United to the Premier League.
You were born to do this, captain. Take the lead.

Leeds United ponder new Snod bid

Yorkshire Evening Post 20/7/12
Leeds United were weighing up an increased bid from Norwich City for Robert Snodgrass today amid growing doubts about the future of the Scotland international.
The Yorkshire Evening Post understands that an improved offer arrived at Elland Road yesterday afternoon, three days after Norwich failed with a £1.5million bid for United’s highly-rated club captain.
City’s latest approach – one of several offers made by them for Snodgrass in the past 12 months – was still under consideration last night with Leeds in the grip of advanced takeover talks and on the brink of a change of ownership.
United manager Neil Warnock has long been opposed to the possibility of selling Snodgrass, despite the winger having less than a year remaining on his contract, but Leeds’ rejection of the bid tabled by Norwich on Monday came with an admission from Warnock that Snodgrass might have had his “head turned” by interest from the Premier League.
The 24-year-old has been club captain at Elland Road since Warnock’s appointment as manager in February, and the Leeds boss was the driving force behind the offer of a new contract which would have made Snodgrass the club’s highest earner.
But that deal remains unsigned, despite suggestions that the two sides are relatively close to an agreement, and Warnock’s plan to earn Snodgrass’ commitment with a flurry of impressive summer signings has been thwarted by a shortage of transfer funds and the protracted wait for a takeover at Leeds.
A group from the Middle East are poised to acquire a controlling interest.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

LUST Interview with BBC Radio Leeds

Transcript of interview with Trust Chairman, Gary Cooper, on West Yorkshire Sport, BBC Radio Leeds 17th July 2012

It was understood that due diligence continues as the interested party looks at the clubs books. It was the Leeds United Supporters Trust who, a few months ago, told us that they knew of an offer to buy the club that was on the table. The Trust has today issued a statement asking the club for concrete news on the deal, Adam Pope spoke to the Trust Chairman Gary Cooper earlier after he had returned from the Football Supporters Europe conference in Turkey.

GC: Yes, it's gone really well. I attended the three day event in Istanbul and I was very impressed. It was the first congress that I have actually attended and I think as an organisation the FSE has made leaps and bounds over the last 2 or 3 years. It certainly is ringing the doorbells of UEFA in very high places and I think it is an organisation which will assist supporters trusts and supporters groups of all kinds to attain the ear of some very influential people.
AP: Well of course this is where it all began with regards to Leeds United. It was yourselves as the Leeds United Supporters Trust that came forward and told the BBC and everybody else that you had been approached by several parties one of which you believed had put a bid on the table. What has happened since then as far as you're concerned? Are things going ahead towards a takeover still?
GC: They certainly are Adam, but this has been a long, protracted, drawn out period where little information, official information, has been put in the public realm. That's been really frustrating, not only for the thousands of fans that are clamouring for information and fans that we believe as a Trust that deserve more than they're been told. The silence surrounding the details of this has been quite incredible. We're certain that everything is going ahead, that there's been no change. Our statement this evening tells you that as far as we're aware that there have been no major issues as regards to due diligence, so we have no reason at all to believe that anything has changed other than we're now into the third week of July and still officially we still know no more than we did a few weeks ago. That's very, very, very frustrating for everyone concerned.
AP: Are you still in touch with the interested party or parties?
GC: Certainly we are still in contact, yes. We're still receiving advice on a regular basis, but there is actually nothing more I can say there. As a Trust we've tried to apply pressure where we can to get all parties concerned to speak out and say what they can to at least keep the fans informed.
AP: The interesting thing now clearly is the name Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa linked with the club nine years ago, nothing happened then, is the name that keeps cropping up, the Bahraini Sheikh. Is it fair, is it accurate to put all the eggs in one basket to say this is the man who's going to sort it out?
GC: All we can say Adam is that I think the fact that there is a middle-east connection here is well in the public domain now. That, certainly as we're concerned, is accurate. In terms of the details of that, we are not at liberty to say any more at the present time, but I would urge all Leeds United fans not to put all your eggs in one basket. It may be that there is a wider group involved.
AP: Because there is an inevitable question that would be is there still a chance that Leeds could be owned by offshore owners like they were until recently, until the Chairman came out and said that he owned the majority shareholding.
GC: Absolutely, of course there's always that chance with middle-eastern involvement, you would certainly expect that to be the case at some level. I think the structure of the club will change dramatically, I'm pretty certain we won't be tied up in 16 or 17 companies, a dozen of which we know nothing about. I am sure that will be a little bit more straight forward. The detail will be there to be had once the deal is announced, finalised and that the buyers have made themselves known to Leeds United supporters.
AP: So in essence things still are moving, we spoke to the club while you were away on business there Gary, they said that due diligence as far as they were concerned the spokesman said that it was still ongoing, I mean that exclusivity will run out at some point surely.
GC: It will and the clock is ticking. So I am sure that whoever and whatever the teams that are involved in getting this deal signed off are doing so as quickly as they possibly can. I don't think we can make any more comment on due diligence, more important to me and to the Trust board is that our members and the wider Leeds United supporters base deserve to be told something, and at the moment we are being told very little if nothing.
AP: Yes, interesting and as you are aware now, Gary, while you were away that the information arm of the Bahrain government, the IAA, have done a complete turnaround and of the possibility of Sheikh Abdulrahman being involved, they divorced themselves from it saying it was nothing to do with us. This in essence, whoever it is if this is accurate, is a private investment this is a group or an investor that will look to come in under their own free will, if you like.
GC: Such is the nature of the people involved that have such high levels and I have no doubt with the amount of money that we're talking about that you saw there yourself with the information office do a complete U-turn. I don't think that's in any way incredible or amazing at all, I think that's probably par for the course in these matters. I'm not one who does multi-million pounds deals every day of the week, so I don't honestly know, but it doesn't surprise me that that's now the case.
AP: Tell you what, talking about multi-million pound deals, or a few hundred thousand pound deals, obviously Rodolph Austin, who we we spoke to yesterday a player that is desperate to come along with his wife, who we spoke to as well yesterday to come from SK Brann in Norway, the Jamaican international to come and play. Mirror that, how many times and with so many players who want to come to Leeds United and you'd hate for £100,000, or whatever it is, for it to fall short. They've sold Lonergan today...
GC: That's so true Adam, and the frustrating thing is that we seem still to be in a position, before this deal is finalised, that we seem to have to sell before we buy. It's not that we're bringing in new players, we have players on the books that Mr. Warnock was very clear at the outset of the close season that he wanted to keep, players who are dedicated to Leeds United, the likes of Robert Snodgrass and Ross McCormack. These guys we're told want to stay and yet, Aidy White another one, their futures are still in doubt with the club and it would be really nice to be in a position to be able to say to these players 'we appreciate your faith in Leeds and here's a decent contract to stay with the club and stay with us to win promotion'. Fans of Leeds United are passionate, when you buy into Leeds United you buy into that dream that the fans have and whether you are the present owners or the future owners get off on the right foot, lets have the fans informed, lets have the fans brought up to date and lets just give them something that they can hold on to. I am sure that there is a positive for Leeds United, but it's for me the Chairman of the trust saying that. The bottom line is at the end of the day that I’m just another person, another volunteer, another working bloke. We need the people involved in this deal to give something to the fans of Leeds United, something positive so that they know that we're moving ahead.

Leeds United Supporters Trust Chairman Gary Cooper speaking to Adam Pope earlier today.

Leeds takeover imminent

ESPN 18/7/12
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent
ESPN understands that Leeds United are on the brink of a takeover, which could be completed in the coming days.
Leeds have been in talks with a group of investors for some time, fronted by Bahrain-based Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, a Leeds United fan who failed with a takeover bid in 2003.
After protracted discussions and countless rumours, an ESPN source has said: "A takeover is now imminent, it could happen any day."
ESPN contacted current owner Ken Bates in Monaco, who refused to comment on the possibility of an impending change in ownership.
Bates told ESPN: "I am here in Monte Carlo but I am making no comment at all. If anything happens you will be the first to know."
Bates also refused to confirm that the party involved was in fact the reported Bahraini investors. Bates, though, did confirm that "an investor" has been granted an extension to the usual business process of due diligence, where the club's finances are examined ahead of a possible takeover.
Former Chelsea owner Bates added that has he has signed a confidentiality agreement, meaning that he cannot discuss any aspect of any potential takeover.

What Warnock Said: Incompetence, Due Diligence, and Bonkers Fans

The Scratching Shed 18/7/12
Neil Warnock talked to TalkSport this morning, covering the contract fiasco, transfer moves, takeover news, and fans. As Norwich offer roughly £1.5m (half of their offer last season) for Robert Snodgrass, Warnock told of his frustration at players supposedly having their heads turned.
I was hoping when I came to build a team around [Snodgrass]. But players get their heads turned and it’s difficult. You understand the player’s point of view, when he sees Howson and Bradley Johnson go down to Norwich, but it’s disappionting for me. It’s bad enough letting go of the transfer list and starting from scratch; but when you’re letting go of your best player it’s disappointing.
There’s a few clubs that like Rob. You can understand why, he’s a top player and he has been for a couple of years. You can also see it from his point of view. There’s been three or four lads sold upwards while he’s been there.
We’ve had 2 or 3 decent offers for Ross, and I don’t think personal terms will be a problem, but I don’t want to sell anybody to be honest before we have replacements. It shouldn’t have got like this in fairness. Same with the other lads that went. I think the lads should’ve been tied up a lot longer before the season start. But that’s life, and I’ve got to do the best I can.

Due Diligence
Blackburn and Bolton’s wages will be about three times ours. I’ve been in for one or two players and the wages these clubs can pay these players is fantastic. But it’s not all wages, it’s about the right camp with the right atmosphere.
NB: Blackburn’s demotion was supposed to spell “financial meltdown” due to the large loans taken out by Venkys; Bolton’s non-TV income in 10-11 in the Premier League was less than Leeds’ in the Championship, and as such Bolton’s turnover plus parachute payments should still be relatively similar to Leeds’.
At the moment there’s a group that’s performing due diligence and I suppose we have to keep both parties in the loop. It is quite frustrating because I need quite a lot of new players, but it looks like it’ll go down to the wire with getting these faces in.
I can’t really give fans any more than what they know. I am a little bit more “in the know” than the fans as you’d imagine.
They’re proper people. They’re doing it the right way, they’re scrutinizing the books, and the club’s not been run in a bad way. There’s nothing untoward there I don’t think.
I wouldn’t be at Leeds now, if I didn’t think [the buyers] were totally behind me.

Bonkers Fans
The fans are right with me, they know what a difficult job I’ve got I think. But I’m looking to get a few in over the next few weeks.
[On takeover interest] I’m not surprised really if I’m honest. I didn’t realise what a big club Leeds was until I came here. The training facilities, the fans. I think we sold about 2,000 pre-season tickets for Torquay in just a few hours, that’s how silly it is. It’s just a fantastic club, and with it being one club in the city I think everybody is involved. And we had a difficult run in last season but they were just fantastic with me. It just made me think “I’ll have a go. I’ll do my best, try to hold on to my best players if I can, and try to build a good team for them and have a good season.”
The fans at Leeds have been fantastic for me since day one.
[On season tickets still selling reasonably well] Well they always do at Leeds don’t they? They’re bonkers, Leeds fans! On the other side of the coin, if they had a go at you they’d be twice as loud as anywhere else!
It’s great being at Leeds away from home because I don’t get as much grief anymore, a lot of it’s directed at Leeds!